No question, modern marketing is a new twist on Integrated Marketing Communications or IMC! And why not? IMC was invented over 20 years ago, before the Internet! With modern marketing comes a necessary need to redefine IMC into modern integrated marketing communications. MIMC? No, too many acronyms. How about Modern IMC?

This blog shares some great history and background on IMC, followed by some insights into how IMC has changed with new marketing emphasis on Internet, search optimization, content and social media.

IMC Background

The next  two paragraphs that are excerpts from a Master’s Thesis – Integrated Marketing Communications, IMC: Theory, Practice and Reality, by Alexandra Mimoun. The idea of Integrated Marketing Communications or IMC was conceived in the United States, at the end of the 1980s, early 1990s. Keith Reinhart was then the Chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA). He has been one of the very first to formulate the need to integrate the different components of communication. He contacted Don E. Schultz, and in 1989, the first research program on IMC was funded by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the American Advertising Federation (AAF).

This research led to the birth of the Medill IMC university program with the first IMC students graduating from Northwestern University in 1991. Link here for complete thesis.

The original premise of IMC was to undertake marketing and communications with a unified voice, a common brand identity, in order to achieve synergy and avoid inconsistency. The many authors on the subject often include strategy, planning and measurement as part of the IMC process. But again, when IMC was invented, marketing mainly included advertising, PR, events and promotion. No electronic media. Television was only beginning to expand beyond the major networks into cable.

So then, modern integrated marketing communications must include elements of the modern marketing mix as defined in our previous blog about modern marketing best practices.

So what is modern integrated marketing communications? Traditional and new media. Online and offline. Print and digital. Outbound and Inbound marketing. Foundational elements like customer insight, planning and branding are still required. Marketing measurement is more important than ever, but also, more possible than ever.

We will suggest that modern integrated marketing communications simply has a different mix, a different emphasis than IMC from the last century. To be sure, traditional marketing like advertising, events and PR are still dominating typical marketing budgets. The difference is, some of these budgets are being reduced and reallocated to Internet marketing, social media and content management. This transitioning of marketing spend is corroborated in annual surveys on marketing spending by the American Marketing AssociationBusiness Marketing Association, and the Construction Marketing Association.

What exactly does modern integrated marketing communications include?

Ok, enough theory.  How about some examples of Modern Integrated Marketing Communications?  Following is a visual example of an association launched by Modern Marketing Partners, the agency affiliate of the Modern Marketing University. The launch was supported almost entirely by Web 2.0 and Inbound Marketing inlcuding blogging and social media, webcasts, content marketing, education and thought leadership, and a lot of publicity.

All elements were tightly integrated with a single graphic identity. All campaigns and promotions were integrated with multiple communications channels, and captured via website registration forms. Very little traditional marketing was employed, and consequently, marketing investment was minimized.

The results? A successful launch, and steady growth as measured by ecommerce sales of memberships, awards, whitepaper and content downloads, and training programs. Massive leads are realized through website registrations for eNewsletters, webcasts, surveys, contact form requests, LinkedIn Groups and LinkedIn connections.

Identity Design CMA

Do you have an example of Modern Integrated Marketing Communications to share? Please comment below. And certainly in the spirit of modern IMC, please share this blog with your colleagues.